Shrink wrapping is the almost perfect (but expensive) way of protecting your boat in winter, but in Asia it has always been done on comparatively small boats. That is changing fast. In Bangkok, Yacht Solutions has just finished erecting and shrink wrapping scaffolding over s/y Douce France - a 42m metre catamaran for the purpose of a refit.
Douce France unwrapped
This is the first time a superyacht has been fully enclosed in shrink wrap, in Thailand, and this new service enables Yacht Solutions to create a climate-controlled environment to facilitate large yacht painting and refitting projects.
Responding to the need for more international standard superyacht refit facilities in the Asian region - from owners of superyachts based in Asia but also visiting yachts from Europe -Yacht Solutions is now offering shrink wrap superyacht tenting. s/y Douce France was brought from Phuket to Bangkok to have extensive paint work and mechanical repair work undertaken. In preparation for this project, the Yacht Solutions’ team was trained by Atlantic Shrink Wrapping Inc. from Washington DC, one of the top shrink wrapping installation companies in the US.
Shrink wrapping the Douce France. Day 1.
Simon Twist, Operations Director for Yacht Solutions and project manager of the Douce France refit commented, 'The only way to create the perfect environment for Douce France was to erect a 45m x 20m x 10m shrink wrapped tent around her. This offers exceptional protection against environmental factors including rain, sun and wind. Shrink wrap tents are now commonplace in the superyacht industry in America and Europe and so we are very happy to be pioneering superyacht shrink wrap tenting here in Thailand.'
Shrink wrap is a polyethylene plastic that is formulated to shrink when heat is applied to it. It then forms a tight seal to whatever it is wrapped around or secured to. In this case, the scaffolding. The shrinking process makes the plastic stronger, allowing it to withstand weather and other elements. Shrink wrapping provides many benefits to superyacht project managers, allowing freedom from the vagaries of weather, added security against theft, protecting yachts from external contaminants, and also (because it can be made airtight) the ‘wrapped’ area can be vented to provide a temperature-controlled work environment.
Gareth Twist, Managing Director of Yacht Solutions, comments that 'We have now been in the marine refit and repair business in Thailand for 12 years. Offering a superyacht shrink wrapping service seems a natural progression for Yacht Solutions. The superyacht industry in Asia is growing, and recent trends show that there has been a year-on-year increase in the number of superyachts either in the region or transiting through, and by offering this service to international standards we believe that more vessels will be attracted to Thailand all year round for refits, conversions and paintwork.'
Mr Twist adds that 'with this shrink wrapping ability we are able to compete with the European yards but with the distinct advantage of a lower labour cost base. Our unique combination ensures international standards are maintained while owners receive exceptional value for money and service due to the efficiencies of operating out of Thailand.'
The tent took seven days to create. Once the scaffolding was erected, the plastic was placed and the pieces were welded together. The plastic was then meticulously cut around the masts and the cables supporting the masts. Each cut was then sealed back together and reinforced. The final step of the project was to put a skirt on the bottom of the structure to meet the ground. The shrink wrapped structure was then fitted with intake and exhaust fans and air conditioning.
The shrink wrap structure proves that anything is possible with a qualified crew and professional installation techniques. Now all yachts can be protected and repaired in their own environment.
Yacht Solutions continues to supply a unique combination of superyacht services, craftsman, project management and this additional service enables them to take on superyacht projects – come rain or shine.
Shrink wrapping the Douce France. Day 7.